North West NSW farmers have launched a legal appeal in the Land and Environment Court against the Independent Planning Commission’s approval of the destructive Santos Narrabri gasfield.
The farmers, from local group the Mullaley Gas and Pipeline Accord (MGPA) and represented by the Environmental Defenders Office, argue the IPC did not assess the project’s climate impacts in a way that was consistent with the law and failed to assess the impacts of an external pipeline which would be needed to transport the gas.
If the 850-well gasfield goes ahead, it will be responsible for a total of nearly 130MT of greenhouse gas emissions.
If the judicial review is successful, the IPC will have to reconsider its approval of the gasfield.
In the meantime, farmers are calling on the State and Federal governments to order Santos to cease any exploratory work while the legal appeal is underway.
North west farmer and member of the MGPA Scott McCalman said, “Our governments are reckless in supporting new fossil fuel projects at this time when the science is so clear - the huge impacts of climate change are here now and new projects only worsen the situation.
“Farmers in our region are already being forced to live with worsening droughts, devastating heat waves and extreme weather. The approval of damaging projects like this that will fuel global warming even further just means more hardship for rural communities.
“It’s not just the climate impact either - this gasfield will have a tremendously negative impact on water, the landscape, and our ability to produce food here.
“I was appalled and flabbergasted when the IPC approved the Santos gasfield - I couldn’t understand how, with the amount of scientific evidence from independent experts, the IPC could rule the way it did.
“A huge cross section of people from our community from all walks of life raised such serious concerns, but were ignored.
“I was overwhelmed with frustration that the IPC could let us down and let down Australia.”
Mullaley sheep and cropping farmer and MGPA secretary Maddy Adams said, “We were appalled that the IPC did not consider the impacts of an external gas pipeline to transport gas from the project.
“We’ve already seen damage from other gas pipelines to soils in our region - we know how much of a threat they pose to farming soils and to water resources.
“There is no doubt that the Narrabri Gas Project and the climate impacts it will trigger are a huge issue that will affect so many communities, which has led to people from far and wide getting involved to prevent this project”.